By Les Towler
Bolton 3 Eccles 12
A local derby at Avenue Street didn’t end Bolton’s way. It was always going to be a close game and in the end Bolton were defeated by four penalties to one so Eccles came away with the points.
Bolton and Eccles started the game strongly. Both sides ran the ball well and tackled hard. Eccles had the upper hand slightly with their weighty forwards driving the ball around the base of the rucks. That said, Bolton’s defence held strong, so Eccles failed to make headway. Bolton’s lineouts did not function effectively and they struggled for possession. On the occasions that Bolton won the ball they tried to move the ball wide and had some success. In the twenty-ninth minute Eccles were awarded a penalty for an off-side infringement by a Bolton player and converted it. Bolton came back into the game to put Eccles under pressure in their twenty-two. In the thirty- eighth minute Bolton were awarded a penalty which Joe Speakman
duly converted. At half time the scores were level at three apiece.
Bolton started the second half well and began to build up some pressure on the Eccles goal-line but the ball was either lost in contact or lost by unforced errors. Eccles attacked through their forwards on countless occasions and were not able to score a try due to Bolton’s solid defence. Eccles were awarded two penalties in the sixty-second and the seventy-second minutes which they converted. At this stage of the game both teams were in with a chance of taking the spoils. Bolton had a couple of chances to score but good defence from Eccles denied them. In the seventy-eighth minute Eccles converted a long-range penalty which sealed the win.
Bolton’s defence was very good and did not give Eccles much room. Their set pieces were disappointing which didn’t help them in the possession stakes. Eccles must have had sixty five percent of the possession therefore it turned out to be a difficult afternoon for Bolton because they really didn’t allow their backs to play with good quick ball.